WEEKLY WORKOUT: Classical Ballet

At the School of Classical Ballet and Dance we learned the hard way that not everyone is guaranteed to become a prima ballerina.  If you’re like us – you haven’t worn a leotard since you were a kid – if ever!  Here’s the good news — you don’t have to put one on to use muscles you’ve forgotten you have.

“A lot of people think it’s just on your tip-toes with your hands above your head, stuff like that,” says owner Serkan Usta, “so I’m sure you were like, yeah… let’s try it…”

He’s grinning as he says it because as a former professional dancer, he knows how much skill and discipline ballet requires.  “All ballet dancers have a tremendous amount of work that they do, it’s not just tutus and a beautiful look.”

Our teacher is Janessa Touchet – a dancer visiting from the Cincinatti Ballet.  Working with her and her students quickly shows us why ballet dancers are considered by many to be some of the best athletes in the world.  This workout requires strength, balance, poise and muscles we don’t use in traditional exercise.  We’re also learning that part of this art, is hiding pain.  Janessa is nursing a broken toe.  “They were dancing in her company and she got dropped on her toe,” Serkan explains. 

For us – ballet is taxing our bodies and our brains.  Ninety percent of what’s coming out of Janessa’s mouth means absolutely nothing to us.  “It’s like a big secret language everyone else knows and we’re like…what?!?!” says Sonya.

It’s clear we’ll never possess the strength and grace of these dancers, but with regular practice Janessa and Serkan insist anyone can benefit from ballet.

“As you learned doing just this little bit, all parts of your body are working,” says Serkan, “and you know, you don’t run, you don’t jump around but it is fantastic for your body.  That’s why I think it’s very, very important for you two to come and take ballet all the time!” 

If you’d like more information of the School of Classical Ballet and Dance in West Des Moines, visit their website.

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